Signs at 40

I have been involved in a collaboration with Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society to produce a virtual 40th anniversary issue, Signs@40: Feminist Scholarship through Four Decades. The result is a novel way to reconsider forty years of feminist scholarship through data visualizations (including topic models and co-citation networks), commentary by scholars, and curated thematic tables of contents. The site is signsat40.signsjournal.org. More below, and please go and explore!

Signs is pleased to announce the launch of Signs@40: Feminist Scholarship through Four Decades.

To celebrate Signs' fortieth year of publication, this project uses digital techniques to explore the journal's archive, the changes in the journal's content over time, and its role in shaping the field of Women's, Gender, and Feminist Studies.

An interactive Topic Model of the Signs archive allows in-depth exploration of the changes in the journal over time. The archive has been algorithmically coded into seventy "topics" (patterns of co-occurring words). Trace each topic over time to view shifts in academic feminist discourse, view bibliographies of the articles most associated with each topic, discover special issues, or peruse the extensive bibliography of all articles included in the model. Far from a definitive interpretation, the topic model invites many new questions and interpretive possibilities, as it also sheds light on questions that have long animated feminist scholarship.

Eminent feminist scholars provide Editorial Commentaries to reflect on the history of Signs, provide insights into the changing landscape of feminist scholarship, and contextualize and interpret the topic model. This section includes essays by Founding Editor Catharine R. Stimpson, current Editor Mary Hawkesworth, past Editors Jean Fox O'Barr and Kathryn Norberg, and incoming Editor Suzanna Danuta Walters, as well as many Signs Associate Editors and other feminist scholars.

Curated Tables of Contents provide edited selections of articles in ten broad areas that have remained of enduring interest over Signs' forty years of publication: Intersectionalities, Interventions in Theory, Methodologies, Bodies, Identities, Differences, Science Studies, Political and Social Movements, Cultural Production, Labor and Political Economy, Field Formation, and Violence and Conflict. Sidebars highlight relevant topics, special issues, clusters, and symposia.

A Cocitation Network Graph draws from Signs reference lists to interactively reveal key texts, links, and conversations that have shaped the field.

Finally, a Cover Art Gallery presents the striking designs and artworks that have graced the covers of Signs over the years.

We hope that Signs@40 will be a novel research and teaching resource for anyone with an interest in feminist scholarship and that it is a fitting tribute to a journal that has profoundly transformed the academic landscape and will continue to do so for years to come.

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